Last year, Nick Clegg defied Tory wishes and insisted that benefits were raised in line with inflation, as Nick Thornsby wrote at the time.
Living on benefits is no joke. If you’re getting £71 a week Job Seekers’ Allowance and things cost 2.4% more this year than they did last year, that’s £1.70 per week that just disappears. The poorest are the last people who can afford to lose any amount of money.
That’s why it’s important that the meagre amount they get at least keeps pace with the way prices are going up.
Food prices are predicted to go up significantly this year after a poor grain harvest in the US. This is going to have horrendous consequences in poorer countries, but it will affect us here, too. Basic foodstuffs, nothing flashy, will cost more.
Strangely enough, the Tories are apparently now making noises that they want to freeze benefits for two years and then only put them up in line with average earnings. That’s what Tories do.
Nick Clegg must put his foot down again and he must succeed. I know that’s not necessarily going to be easy but failure is not an option. If money needs to be found from somewhere, it can be found from the wealthiest. The poor can take no more.